I HAVE not been a big user of chat software. I always feel that it is so obtrusive and can interrupt what you are doing, and it is better to email, where you can read and answer at your own leisure. It is also for the same reason I don’t do a lot of cellphone conversations. The other party also will be able to know when you are online, and whether you have seen the message, and may consider it rude if you don’t answer immediately.

However, Facebook Messenger is integrated in Facebook and I am starting to see the advantage. It helps that from chat, you can immediately switch to voice calls if necessary. It also helps that it has lots of stickers, which makes communicating easier. When you have nothing to say, just send a funny sticker. And another extra nice thing is that the photos and other files that you send and receive can be integrated into your Facebook posts quite easily. Many data service providers offer free data traffic to Facebook, so even if you don’t have a data plan, you might be able to use Facebook and Messenger for free.

Facebook has announced that they may also allow the decoupling of Messenger from Facebook soon if desired. That means you can use Messenger without getting into Facebook. I think these have several advantages. First it makes it easier to use. And you can use Messenger even if your company does not allow the use of Facebook or bans its data traffic.

It is rumored that Messenger will soon allow online payments and location sharing. But for now, in the US and Canada, people without Facebook can now access Messenger. If the feedback is good, it will be rolled out worldwide.

Online networks like Facebook are continuing to introduce privacy concerns. People are posting photos they have no right to post. Have you been to a private event in which the host would prefer certain portions of the program to be private, but suddenly finds that somebody has been snapping pictures and posting the whole album for the world to see?

Some portions can be damaging. For instance, sexually explicit images or those of people getting drunk find their way to the web. Google, in response to this, has come up with a policy to combat a practice called “ revenge porn”.

If the photo serves only to degrade women, according to Google, and there is a request to move such pictures from Google search results, they will do it.

Posts that reveal personal information or that could incite violence or fights are photos that should not be posted, and therefore may not be in the search results. Twitter and Reddit have also recently updated their policies to forbid “involuntary pornography.”

(wilson@ngkhai.com)